AT&T announced late Thursday that U-verse TV customers in Connecticut now have access to MSG HD and MSG+ HD, about two weeks after Cablevision Systems lost its final bid to withhold the sports network's high-definition feeds from telco rivals.
Separately, MSG appears headed for a New Year's Eve showdown with Time Warner Cable in a dispute over carriage fees.
On U-verse TV, MSG HD is available throughout the Nutmeg State on channel 1708 and MSG+ HD is available in parts of Connecticut on channel 1706. Subscribers must have the U-verse U100 programming package or higher as well as HD service (an additional $10 per month). Previously AT&T had expected to add the RSNs' HD versions in early 2012.
"After years of seeking access to this programming, we're pleased to bring MSG HD and MSG+ HD to U-verse TV customers," AT&T president of content Dan York said in a statement. "We're delighted that our U-verse TV customers now have access to these important HD sports channels on reasonable terms. We will continue to work diligently on behalf of our customers to continue enhancing U-verse TV by adding the content they want at fair terms and prices."
On Dec. 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied a petition by Cablevision and MSG Holdings to review the Federal Communications Commission's September order to make the HD feeds of regional sports networks available to Verizon Communications and AT&T. Verizon added both to FiOS TV the next day for customers in the New York area.
MSG is the regional sports network home of seven professional teams: the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, New York Red Bulls, New Jersey Devils and the WNBA's New York Liberty.
After the post-lockout start to the National Basketball Association season, MSG touted its highest ratings in more than a decade for a late-night telecast of a regular-season Knicks game with the Dec. 28 airing of the Knickerbockers' loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Dallas-based AT&T reported 3.6 million U-verse TV subscribers as of the end of September 2011. The telco claims it's the fastest-growing TV service in the U.S., although U-verse fell off the pace with 176,000 TV net adds in the most recent quarter.